Today I picked up a Wall Street Journal for the first time in ages. When we first moved to New York, I briefly subscribed to the Journal and the Times, which was unsustainable even for me. So now the Journal's free market evangelism, and utter lack of regard for international opinion about the actions of the United States, is an occasional vice.
I had hoped to stay away from the political pages in favor of the uncontroversial and fascinating "Weekend Journal" section. But soon enough I was reading the editorials and opinion pieces. The article that caught my eye was about Brazil's elections, which are set for Sunday. (When we were in Brazil, we saw many teenagers on street corners waving flags for various politicians.)
Socialist president Lula da Silva is likely to win a second term, either on the first or second ballot. The Journal paints a grim picture of a grossly corrupt administration; even granting that da Silva truly wanted to assist the poor, by now everyone around him just wants to feed at the trough. Assuming this is true, the cause of this corruption is "interventionism" in the economy, which should be free. In fact, the article begins with a quote by conservative philosopher Ludwig von Mises--"Corruption is a regular effect of interventionism."
The proper balance between a free market and a regulatory government is difficult to strike; this argument will go on forever. But at least da Silva's version of interventionism takes place within his own country, on behalf of a populace that elected him. Meanwhile, our own President's mode of interventionism involves invading other nations and imposing democracy at the point of a gun. Lord knows that lots of corruption has resulted in Iraq; the most recent story is about the waste of $75 million to build a new police academy in Baghdad.
Since da Silva's interventionism is so upsetting, you'd expect outright howling from the Journal about George Bush's techniques. But no. The paper continues to shill for the administration, even after many Republicans have seen the light about this misbegotten war. Interventionism on behalf of poor Brazilians is worth shouting about, but why intervene to protest the car bombings of poor Iraqis?